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Robert Serry, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said Thursday that recent activities by both Israel and the Palestinians are not contributing to settling their conflict and confidence remains low as 2009 draws to a close.

Serry told the UN Security Council that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to temporarily freeze settlements was not recognized as progress and had no significant influence on the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

“Even the genuine progress taking place in parts of the West Bank runs in parallel with negative trends,” Serry said.

“We are in a race against time to overcome the contradictions on the ground and the crisis of confidence between the parties, and move decisively towards a political end game,” he said. Source: Haaretz

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